According to Ken Rosenthal, the agent for Hiroyuki Nakajima has broached the possibility of a sign and trade from the New York Yankees. The Yankees won the rights to negotiate with Nakajima with a $2.5 M bid. With the Yankees, Nakajima was viewed strictly as a versatile backup who could spell Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Robinson Cano on occasion -- a duty that he would presumably share with Eduardo Nunez.
With the Cubs, however, Nakajima could challenge for the 2B job. The 29 year old infielder was a multiple all-star in the NPB and played in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 as well as the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
Defensively, he's a Gold Glove SS and an athletic player with a great arm. Offensively he is an aggressive hitter from the right side of the plate. However, he has improved his patience at the plate in the last 2 seasons, walking at a rate that would be above average in the MLB. His slash line last year was .314/.385/.511. He also hit 20 HRs and stole 15 bases.
Like Crisp, Nakajima would continue the trend toward the more athletic, defensively oriented players that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have sought to add this offseason. It appears we're going to see a much different team that will rely on speed and defense to win ballgames. The pitching should benefit as well and the hope is that the Cubs pitchers will pitch closer to their FIPs next season -- that alone would make for an improvement without adding a single arm.
It appears that we're going to have to get used to a whole different type of Cubs team next year.